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Statue of the week: 21 (I recognise him!)

February 21, 2011

This weeks statue should certainly be a familiary face to the British readers of this blog.  One night my friend Daniella and I went past this statue on the number 12 trikke, in the dark.  We said to each other – that looks like Winston Churchill, but why would there be a statue of him in Oslo? I went past a week or so later in daylight and realised that it was Churchill, standing tall in Solli plass (number 2 of the 3 statues there).  This statue is on the opposite side of Solli place from the “man with the keys” (statue of the week number 19).  The sculptor is Ivor Roberts-Jones and the version in Oslo appears to be a copy of the Churchill statue in Parliament Square, London 

Why is there a statue of Churchill in Oslo?  At the beginning of world war II Norway was neutral.  There was a strategic sea route from Sweden to Germany via Norway shipping iron ore.  Britain realised that this was not good for them and Churchill (who was First Lord of the Admiralty, and not Prime Minister, at the time) wanted to place mines around the port of Narvik (in the far north) to destroy the shipments to Germany.  The British also sought to fight Germany at sea and placed their efforts there. Germany, aware that this was happening invaded Norway at Kristiansand (in the South).  Basically this was a success for the Germans and they occupied Norway from 1940 – 1945. In the UK the Norway Campaign was deemed to have gone badly wrong and there was a vote of no confidence in the government.  The governing party had a reduced majority and Neville Chamberlin resigned as Prime Minister.  Who benefited from this?  Well Winston Churchill did, despite being behind many of the failures of the Norway Campaign!

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